Me and Meat

31 Mar

I am a keen omnivore. Apart from a brief spell in primary school when I got somehow targeted by The Vegetarian Society, I have never considered vegetarianism a choice that spoke to me. Veganism was a very far-off idea – the only vegan I knew was the class bully who would share gory stories that she’d heard about abbatoirs and sheep-shearing with whomever was in earshot. Back to the present, and vegans and vegetarians punctuate my everyday experiences in Blogland, and the issue has become very interesting to me again.

I’m really quite ambivalent when it comes to veganism and vegetarianism. On the one hand, if you believe that killing/using animals for food and/or clothing is wrong, then it 100% makes sense. I have a lot of respect for people with such strong convictions. Even if you just think it’s gross, or you feel that your diet is healthier without the saturated fat that inevitably comes with animal proteins – those are really excellent reasons to seek out the green tick on your food packaging.

However, I feel less confident about veganism and vegetarianism as methods of improving animal welfare. I guess I feel that more can be achieved by staying within any “system” and working to improve it, than opting out. When people abstain from voting because all politicians are corrupt anyway, I feel that they are simply handing over the power to other people – usually those who care about very different issues.

I feel like I have a vote to give and I want that to go to farmers who live near me, treating their animals well. If I can help keep their business going, then maybe it’ll become so successful that it’ll close down the farm where they overcrowd the chickens and cut their beaks off.

I love schemes like meat-free Monday, in which we are encouraged to have a day a week when we don’t eat any animal products. I know that they can be seen as gimmicky, but I believe they have a positive effect. If you take the money you’d spend on that extra day’s meat and spend it on better quality, more ethically-sourced meals throughout the rest of the week, then you’re doing more good than you were before.

Are you an omnivore, a vegetarian or a vegan? What led you to make that decision? Do you think that anything that could sway you to the “other side”?

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10 Responses to “Me and Meat”

  1. Summah March 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Interesting post, Becca! I’ve been considering a meat-free lifestyle for quite some time. I gave up meat for Lent season, and I’m thinking I may stick with it even after, with a few conditions. If I’m going to buy meat, I’d like to know where it comes from. What it had for dinner every night (ie, grass-fed beef). And I don’t eat much meat, so if I’m not buying it that often, I can afford to make more local, more expensive choices.

    Someone told me that animals are here for us to eat. Which may be true. But animals are not here to be treated the way that the often are in factory farming. When you choose local, choose organic, choose healthy and fresh food, it creates a demand, shows that people want better choices. Hopefully this will trend toward things being more readily available.

    Case in point: Wal-Mart now carries milk that comes from cows that HAVEN’T been treated with growth hormone. Consumers expressed that that was a concern, and a big corporation answered back. (Wal-Mart isn’t the best example, but you get the gist.)

    I’ve also found that taking meat out of the equation has forced me to think more about what exactly I’m eating. Veggies, grains, what have you…I think about food all the time anyway, and now I realized I have a whole rainbow of foods to experiment with, instead of chicken or beef. It’s liberating 🙂

    Sorry to write a book!

    • Becca March 31, 2011 at 8:36 pm #

      That’s great that Walmart are listening! I think we’re lucky in that all of our major supermarket chains stock organic options now. You only have to look at the effect that microwaves and low-fat diets have had on the foods on the shelves to see that consumers really do have the power.

  2. Jenn @ Peas & Crayons March 31, 2011 at 8:51 pm #

    Nice Carrot!

  3. Jenn @ Peas & Crayons March 31, 2011 at 8:52 pm #

    bahahahahaha! =) I’m 90-95% vegetarian if that makes sense? =) I’m the opposite of meatless mondays! I eat meat 1x per week! hehe

    hope you got a kick out of my last comment =)

    • Becca April 1, 2011 at 6:18 am #

      Haha, brilliant! Do you do it for ethical or health reasons, or are you just not a big fan of meat?

  4. Peridot April 1, 2011 at 10:20 am #

    I love meat but I care very much about how the animals are treated so choose accordingly. Also, if we were all veggies, our fields would be empty of livestock and we’d have to go to a zoo to see a cow or a sheep. Which would be tragic.

    Px

    • Becca April 1, 2011 at 10:26 am #

      That’s a rather eerie thought. An American friend found it amusing that we have raccoons in zoos here, when she struggles to keep them away from her house!

  5. greekmelie April 2, 2011 at 6:54 am #

    I am a vegetarian. It is kind of funny, but even as a vegetarian I don’t believe that using animals for food and other uses is bad. From an evolutionary point of view it is what actually allowed the human race to evolve and reach that place where vegetarianism/veganism is a viable choice.

    What I am firmly against is the way the food industry produces the meat and the meat products. It is harmful for the animals, the planet and our own healths in the long run. I do not wish the meat industry to disappear. I want it to be overhauled and follow more humane and sustainable methods. From that perspective, I actually believe that you are doing more towards this direction as an omnivore than me as a vegetarian.

    I don’t think that anything could sway me to the other side, except for medical reasons. I made a personal decision based on my tastes and preferences. Based only on moral principles it would make more sense for me to be eating meat, but I just don’t like it!

    I don’t think that everybody should be vegetarian. Even from a strictly health point of view, some people just can’t be in their best health without meat or without grains or without dairy or insert whatever dietary restriction here. Meatless Mondays do help in my opinion because humanely raised meat and dairy cannot be produced at the same rate and same quantities as industrialized meat. And it’s not how we are supposed to be fed either way. That’s why cardiac diseases and obesity are such problems in our society. Because we eat too much and too much processed food, not because we eat meat. To me, it’s not about whether you eat meat, it’s about what quantity and what quality of meat you are eating.

    Sorry! I think my comment is longer than your post!

    • Becca April 2, 2011 at 7:55 am #

      Thank you for your comment! That makes a lot of sense – both just following your own tastes, and knowing ones own body and what will help fuel it better – like some cars need petrol while some need diesel.

      Yes, yes, yes re: the processed food! I am always irritated by studies that don’t go far enough and say “oh, well this sick person ate a lot of meat/saturated fat, so clearly meat/saturated fat is bad for you”. Um, ok, but what *type* of meat did they eat? And did they always leave their vegetables? We are more complex creatures than a lot of studies seem to acknowledge. I would love to be a scientist researching nutrition… 😉

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Me, Becca and Meat | G(r)eek Melie - April 3, 2011

    […] me, the latest occurrence happened after reading Becca‘s post on her choice of eating meat and the way she uses her eating habits to influence the meat industry. […]

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